Contact Columbus Community Bill of Rights
Carolyn Harding, co-organizer
Bill Lyons, co-organizer

Columbus, OH: On Friday, several corporate lobbyist groups filed amicus briefs to the Ohio Supreme Court in the rapidly-moving lawsuit brought by Columbus Community Bill of Rights (CCBOR) to have an initiated Community Bill of Rights ordinance submitted to the electorate of Columbus. The identified supporters of the Franklin County Board of Elections’ action to deny the initiated ordinance to be placed on the November ballot includes the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, Affiliated Construction Trades Ohio Foundation, Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Columbus Realtors, Ohio Chemistry Technology Council, and the American Petroleum Institute.

Bill Lyons, co-organizer for CCBOR states,

“These corporate trade groups by their actions clearly illustrate their belief that their profit-making motives should supersede the people’s rights to a clean environment and democracy where they live. We will not sit back idly and allow our health, safety, and welfare for our children and future generations to be determined by profiteering polluters and their paid-for politicians.”

The supplemental support offered to the Franklin County BOE by these industry lobbyists reveal the very problem CCBOR seeks to rectify.

Carolyn Harding, co-organizer for CCBOR, stated:

“The corporations represented by these lobbying groups are nervous of direct democracy by the people and not satisfied with the enormous advantage they have in spending money for negative ads during elections, but now they want to strip government of, by, and for the people by removing citizen initiatives from ever appearing on the ballot. We have a real democracy crisis if the right to initiative, written into our Ohio Constitution in 1912, can be squashed by four appointed members of a Board of Elections, and with back up from industry lobbyists, to effectively strip more than 565,000 registered Columbus voters from exercising their democratic right of suffrage to protect their drinking water.”

The Columbus Community Bill of Rights, an initiative by the people to protect their drinking water and environment, would enable citizens to directly address pollution and harm to their drinking water before the harm occurs.

The Columbus citizen group chose to work with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) to draft the initiative as a result of frustration felt by residents after years of inaction by the government. CELDF has partnered with communities across more than 10 states to enact over 200 rights-based laws.

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